Hawkeye tennis shuts out opponents in double-header
Iowa continued it’s hot start this season by defeating Creighton and Butler each by a count of 7-0 in this past weekend’s double-header at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes had everything under control as they only dropped one set on the day.
Iowa didn’t have much trouble putting the Bluejays away in the first matchup. While they were pushed, Iowa was in command the entire meet. None of the Hawkeye’s matches went to a third set against Creighton. Michael Swank had to battle for a win. The gritty junior outlasted his opponent to pick up a victory in straight sets (7-5)(7-5).
Sophomore Matt Hagan was engaged in a tight battle with Billy Paluch, ranked nationally 91st for the Bluejays. After dropping the first set, Hagan went shot-for-shot with him in the second set until Paluch rolled his ankle, consequently making him retire from the match.
The second matchup of the double header started much like the first, with Iowa picking up a victory in doubles. Iowa has won the doubles point in every meet they’ve had this season. Until Saturday, Iowa hadn’t lost a doubles match.
After picking up the meet’s first point, the Hawkeyes finished strong to keep their opponents off of the scoreboard. Iowa’s Jonas Dierckx continued his quick start to the season by picking up two doubles and singles victories on the day. The junior is 5-1 during singles play and 6-0 in doubles.
Butler’s Pulok Bhattacharya challenged him in his second singles match. Dierckx was forced to win a tiebreaker in the second set but his pinpoint accuracy was too much for Bhattacharya to handle.
Hagan was involved in another tough match versus Butler’s number 1 singles player Austin Woldmoe. Hagan won his first set (6-4) but lost the second set (1-6), saying he started to feel fatigue setting in.
“I was a little tired because it was the last match of the day,” Hagan said. “For the third set I just tried to be more aggressive and play shorter points.”
Hagan cranked up the intensity and aggressiveness as he closed out his opponent (6-0) in the third set. In fact, Joey White and Juan Estenssoro also beat their opponents by shutting them out in the last set of the match.
Iowa’s captain Garrett Dunn played from behind in his match with Butler’s Tommy Marx. Dunn battled back from a 3-4 deficit in the first set and a 1-4 deficit in the second set to pick up a win in straight sets (6-4)(6-4).
“I was pleased with how our guys finished with a flourish,” Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said. “That’s what you want to do. You want to put guys away and avoid three set matches.”
Freshman Dominic Patrick picked up two more victories last Saturday. He defeated Butler’s Billy Weldon who came into the matchup 10-7 on the season. The freshman has quietly put together a four match winning streak.
The Hawkeyes won’t be back in action until Feb. 24, when they take on Western Michigan. Iowa will use the next two weeks to keep improving as they gear up to face tougher competition later in the season.
“Everybody’s playing well right now and feeling good about themselves,” Swank said. “Now, we just need to dig down and focus on the minor details that can bump us up to the next level.”
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